South Region: In Skirmish of Wildcats, Bet on Kentucky Over Davidson

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:14 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2018 4:14 PM UTC

At this point, we cannot wait for Kentucky to play their first game and John Calipari can stop complaining about playing on Thursday, flying to Boise and thinking he's got a comedy stand-up act in the works.

No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 12 DavidsonFree NCAAB Pick: KentuckyBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The NCAA basketball odds have Kentucky as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 143 for Thursday's 7:10 ET matchup vs. Davidson in Boise. The way UK coach John Calipari has run his mouth, no matter how many Kentucky fans are in Boise, Davidson fans will likely have an arena full of backers siding with them because of his remarks as the evening session commences.

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Kentucky Oozing Talent and Togetherness

After losing four in a row in February, Kentucky players figured out what Coach Cal was talking about. They had to share the ball, play as a team and trust each other to be successful. They did that in winning three straight and took one step backward in returning to old ways in a loss at Florida.

Once the Wildcats got to St. Louis for the SEC Tournament, Kentucky (24-10, 16-17-1 ATS) came together. As a team, they shot 50.9 percent for three games and their defensive energy was fueled by how good the offense was in winning the title. Chances are the 'Cats will not shoot the ball that well going forward, but if guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (13.2 PPG, 4.9 APG), Kevin Knox (15.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG) and Wenyen Gabriel (6.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG) play anywhere near how they just did, Kentucky might be headed to the Sweet 16 even if they have to face Arizona next.

Davidson Tries to Slay Another Beast

Davidson (21-11, 19-11-1 ATS) was playing well coming into the A-10 tournament and realized the only method to reach the NCAA tourney was to win the conference title. These Wildcats were on an 8-2 (7-3 ATS) move with losses to Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure. By mid-afternoon Sunday, Davidson had gotten revenge on both and cut the nets, stealing a bid from Notre Dame.

Davidson is a three-point shooting team, making 11 of 27 on average, and they knock down 39.1 percent. This accounts for 42 percent of their scoring. In this game, because Kentucky has better athletes to challenge them shot fakes and backdoor cuts will be a larger part of the offense, looking for more ways to score.

Long a man-to-man defensive team under coach Bob McKillop, assistant coaches felt this group could play a quality 2-3 zone, and this completely changed their defensive structure. If they can force to Kentucky to make their season average of five three-pointers, Davidson has a shot.

Kentucky Has Too Much Ability for Davidson

For NCAA basketball picks, I'll side with Kentucky. I would fully expect the Davidson to be hanging around for 35 minutes, but eventually, Calipari's crew controls the glass, Davidson is little fatigued, misses shot attempts late and Kentucky wins by 9.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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